A LOCAL MP has asked for a meeting with Tata Steel’s chairman and called on him to rethink plans to close the British Steel Pension Scheme.

John Healey is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for steel and MP covering the company’s Aldwarke plant.

He has written to Cyrus Mistry, Tata’s chairman, calling on him to meet MPs concerned about the ‘crisis’ at the company.

He said in the letter: “I worked very closely with both management and unions in engineering steels when the global financial collapse and recession hit in 2007/08, and I saw the plant pull through an extremely difficult time when its very existence was threatened. I do not therefore now use the term ‘crisis’ lightly.

“I have been consistently impressed by the approach the workforce and union leaders at our local plant have taken to playing a very full part in working with the management to see the company through the recent tough years.”

Mr Healey said the announcement about the pension scheme was “a very bitter blow to the workforce that have been so committed to the company and so loyal.”

Trade unions have said they were willing to meet the deficit through reductions in members’ benefits – even though the company is legally obliged to pay for the deficit and has done so in the past.

Steelworkers may now choose to strike for the first time in more than 30 years.

The Wentworth & Dearne MP added that UK steelworkers “deserve and expected better” from management, and he urged the chairman to personally review the approach and intervene.